Soccer honors seniors, fall at home

Jenny Rohl/The News Senior forward Pavlina Nepokojova battles a defender Sunday at Cutchin Field.
Jenny Rohl/The News Senior forward Pavlina Nepokojova battles a defender Sunday at Cutchin Field.

Jenny Rohl/The News
Senior forward Pavlina Nepokojova battles a defender Sunday at Cutchin Field.

On a weekend where the Murray State soccer team honored seven seniors and their accomplishments, senior Julie Mooney tied the school record for most goals in a season.

The forward from St. Peters, Mo., scored her 13th goal of the season Friday in a win over Austin Peay to pull even with Theresa Reedy’s mark set in 2004.

“It wasn’t really a goal of mine,” Mooney said. “I just wanted to score more than I had scored since I’ve been here, which was eight. But it became more of a goal once I started getting closer to it and I was like, ‘Oh, maybe this is possible.”’

In the first game of the weekend, the Racers traveled to Clarksville, Tenn., to take on the Governors of Austin Peay.

The game did not look promising for the visiting team early as Austin Peay jumped out to a 1-0 lead in only the fourth minute of the match. The goal was the first against goalkeeper Shelby Haworth in nearly a month.

The Racers did not take long to pull even when Julie Mooney scored her 13th goal of the season in the 14th minute.

The Racers used this momentum to strike once again in the 38th minute as sophomore Taylor Richerson headed in an assist from freshman Destiny White for her third goal of the season, putting the Racers up 2-1 going into the half.

Coming out of the half, Murray State applied the pressure and in the 63rd minute scored its third goal of the game from senior Pavlina Nepokojova.

As much as the Racers would have liked to run the clock out without drama, Austin Peay had different plans. In the 87th minute, the Governors scored to bring themselves within one point of the visiting team. By that point it was too little too late and the Racers escaped with a 3-2 victory.

“We played pretty well and we created a bunch of chances,” said Head Coach Jeremy Groves.

Groves said he believed the women made the game harder than what it should have been.

“We dug ourselves a hole a little bit early and went behind 1-0, but the way we fought back was really good,” Groves said. “With about two minutes to go the girl hit a bomb from about thirty yards. We had our backs against the wall for about the last two minutes of the game, but I thought we played pretty well.”

Seven Murray State seniors were honored before Sunday’s game against Belmont, including Mooney, Sonja Murphy, Bronagh Kerins, Nepokojova, Amber Hanson, Rebecca Bjorkvall and Halle Pinkham. According to Mooney, the senior class is close.

“They are some of my best friends,” Mooney said. “A lot of us have b

een together for four years now and I just want to win for them.”

For first year head coach Groves, the senior class has welcomed him with open arms.

“I’m thankful for the way they’ve taken us into the program,” Groves said. “They’ve listened and they’ve worked hard and their leadership has been pretty good so they mean a lot. I think the biggest thing is that they’re trying to leave a legacy behind to continue on which is good to see and hopefully we can keep improving every year.”

The players did not get the sweet senior day goodbye they were looking for, however, as they fell 2-0 to the Bruins.

The first half was competitive as both teams had their chances to score but neither could find the back of the net.

The teams were tied in total shots heading into the half at nine apiece. The second half was a different story, unfortunately, as the Bruins gained the advantage.

Belmont’s Allie Hicks scored the first goal of the game in the 60th minute and then scored again in the 81st minute to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead heading into the final stretch of the game.

The Racers could not recover in the waning minutes and the Bruins walked away from Cutchin Field with the victory.

“We came out and played pretty well in the first half,” Groves said. “We missed a bunch of chances and then in the second half we just didn’t show up. We looked a little lethargic and lazy at times and you can’t do that at this level, otherwise you get punished for it and that’s what happened. It’s just disappointing that we lose our last game at home like that.”

After playing for four years on Cutchin Field, Mooney had mixed emotions.

“It was just kind of bittersweet,” Mooney said. “I’m happy to have finished four years but it’s sad, too, playing for the last time on a field I spent so much time on.”

The Racers have one more game before the OVC Tournament to get their momentum back. They will play UT Martin today at 7 p.m. in Martin, Tenn.

Story by Peter NorthcuttStaff writer